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Amazon Courts Males with New Private-Label Collection

Amazon is targeting the well-dressed man with Buttoned Down, its latest private-label brand—and the first offered exclusively to Amazon Prime members. Comprised solely of 100 percent Supima cotton dress shirts for now, the collection is designed to entice based on quality and fit.

With a price point of $39, a generous return policy and sizes that span 72 combinations, including Big & Tall, the goal for the online marketplace is clear: category dominance. Not a surprise since this has become Amazon’s calling card. Forget Duracell and Panasonic when it comes to batteries. AmazonBasics batteries accounted for about one-third of all online sales last year, with 93 percent year-over-year growth. So with the launch of Buttoned Down, if you’re Phillips-Van Heusen, you might need to loosen your collar right now.

And leading menswear companies may have every reason to feel threatened.

Amazon already ranks number two in overall U.S. apparel sales behind Walmart, according to Morgan Stanley. But will this success in (mostly) branded apparel translate to private label? And will men want to shop for dress clothes the same way they click to ship replacement razors?

For their dads, the answer might have been an immediate, “Yes, definitely.” But some say it’s a new day. Long fabled to be “hunters,” men have been stereotyped as prioritizing ease over all else at retail—making them an ideal Amazon customer, perhaps. They get in and out quickly with a replacement for whatever belt or shoe has finally betrayed them after years of loyal service. They don’t want to shop. And they certainly don’t want to browse. (When’s the last time you heard a guy extol the virtues of retail therapy?)

But that guy may be going the way of the landline. Today’s man is shopping more like his wife or girlfriend, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal. The new male customer is more sophisticated and concerned with style.

What does that mean for Amazon? It means the retail giant will need to focus on finesse as well as fit. On-trend looks and multiple new product launches could be just as important to this consumer as the convenience for which the company has made its name. Time will tell if Buttoned Down cuffs the competition.